Digital accessibility: what it means to design for everyone

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Why digital accessibility is so important. What it means and how to design accessible web products and services for everyone


Here at TSW we repeat it often: There are no users and customers. There are people, with their wishes, their fears, their own stories.

And this is what leads us to design with people at the centre, taking into account their objectives, their expectations, their needs and their difficulties. It is important to carefully evaluate the group of people for which you are designing and it is equally important to get to know them through research and listening.

However, sometimes mistakes are made in identifying the audience, limiting itself to considering only “typical users” and ignoring other categories that are automatically excluded. This is limiting both for those who are not considered during the design and for the product or service being created, which will not be fully usable by a large number of users.

What is digital accessibility?

Digital accessibility refers to the design and development of digital products, services and content so that they are usable and enjoyable by all, including people with disabilities or those with limited use of technology. This includes ensuring that websites, apps, digital documents and other digital products are accessible to people with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive disabilities (permanent and temporary).

Digital accessibility

To create accessible digital products and services, it is necessary to comply with accessibility standards and international guidelines, such as the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). These standards define technical and usability requirements to guarantee access to information and digital services to people with disabilities.

In summary, digital accessibility is important for ensuring equal access to digital information and services, enhancing the experience for all and promoting diversity and inclusion.

How to design an accessible web product or service? Our approach

Designing in an inclusive way is part of our commitment and our philosophy. Here are some things we keep in mind:

  1. Listening to users: seeking user feedback, especially from those with disabilities, is useful for understanding their needs and improving the accessibility of the product or service.
  2. Accessibility standards: following recognized accessibility standards, such as the WCAG, is important to ensure that the result is in line with the guidelines. In practice it means verifying that the product or service is navigable through the keyboard, using accessible colors, providing textual alternatives for images, etc.
  3. Accessibility Testing: running accessibility tests on your product or service, using automated and manual tools, allows you to identify any accessibility issues and fix them before release.

Conclusions: accessible design as a fundamental requirement

Designing in an accessible way means taking into consideration the needs of all people right from the early design stages and adopting an inclusive approach that allows everyone to use the digital product or service autonomously and independently.

The benefits of accessible design not only affect people with disabilities, but also all other users. Indeed, adopting an inclusive design means designing for everyone, taking into account individual differences and the needs of users in a wider way. This leads to greater usability of the digital product or service and a better user experience for everyone.

Accessible design should be considered a fundamental requirement in any digital product and service design process to truly put (all) people at the centre.

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28 April 2023 Giorgia De Stefani

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TAG: The Sixth W approach user testing UX and UI experience design product and service design